Acne (Mukhadushika - Youvanpidika - Tarunyapidika)
शाल्मलीकण्डकागारपिटका: सरुजोघना: l
Acne Vulgaris - Causes, Symptoms, and Ayurvedic Treatment
Acne is a skin problem that mainly affects teenagers. It is caused by obstruction of hair follicles and results in whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples. It is related to hormone levels, lifestyle, nature of skin, etc. Acne is not only a physical issue but may also affect the psychological and social aspects of an individual. Ayurveda explains about Mukhadushika which is having the same manifestation of Acne. IAFA promises effective Ayurvedic management for acne. Dr. Gupta’s IAFA is the ultimate center for revitalizing your skin through Ayurveda.
Causes of Acne
Acne is caused by different reasons. Major four reasons are listed below:
- Bacterial infection
- Excess oil secretion
- Oil and dead skin cells getting clogged in hair follicles
- Excess activity of androgen hormone
- Family History
Hair follicles are directly connected to oil-producing glands. Clogging of hair follicles with oil and other particles results in the formation of acne. Stress, certain medications, carbohydrate-rich diet, etc. increase the risk of affection with acne.
Ayurveda says Acne is caused by reasons that vitiate Kapha and Vata dosha. The reasons are related with food habits, exposure to dust and wind, mental factors, etc.
Ayurvedic Reference of Acne Vulgaris
Symptoms of Acne
Signs and symptoms of acne vary in each individual. It is mainly expressed on the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulder region as these areas have more oil glands. Major manifestations include:
- Whiteheads (closed pores)
- Blackheads (opened pores)
- Small, red bumps which are tender – Papules
- Papules with pus at their tips
- Large and solid painful lumps beneath the skin surface – nodules
- Painful and pus-filled lumps beneath the skin surface – cystic lesions
- Raised red spots with a white center – Pimples.
Ayurveda says acne will be painful, hard, deep seated and also pus filled.
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Diagnosis of Acne Vulgaris
Accurate diagnosis of acne vulgaris can be followed by Nidan Panchak in Ayurveda.
Causative Factors of Acne Vulgaris
Aahar (Food Habits)
- Virudha Aahar (wrong food combinations such as fruits with milk, milk with fish, etc.),
- Excessively spicy, salty & sour food, curd, and upvasa (fasting).
- Krodh (Anger),
- Stress etc.
Vihara (Physical Activities)
- Ati Vyayam (Excessive Physical Exercise),
- Ati Jagran (Sleeping Late at Night),
- Daytime Sleep after lunch,
- Vegvidharana (Suppression of Nature Urges)
- At Young/ Teen Age.
Predominant Symptoms of Acne Vulgaris
Purvroop in nidan panchak has its own significance because these are symptoms that are produced by the body before the appearance of acne on face. These purvaroop symptoms behave as an alarm to patients and are a very helpful diagnostic tool for an ayurvedic practitioner. Acne Vulgaris if treated at this stage, is easily curable.
- Sparshagyatvama (Loss of Touch Sensation)
- Ati Sweda (Excess Sweat)
- Asweda (No Sweat)
- Vaivarnya (Discoloration of Skin)
- Koth (Appearance of Rash)
- Kandu (Itching)
- Toda (Piercing Pain)
- Shool (Pain),
- Daah (Burning Sensation),
- Rukshta (Dryness),
- Asrijah Krishnta (Reddish Black Discoloration of Skin),
- Kharata (Excess Roughness),
- Saptagata (Numbness).
Signs of Acne Vulgaris (Mukhdushika)
Roop in nidan panchak are the symptoms that are easily identified by an intuitive ayurvedic practitioner to get an accurate differential diagnosis.
- Shalmali Kantakara (just like Thorn of Shalmali)
- Shopha (Swelling)
- Saruja (Pain)
- Ghan (Hard and Thick)
- Medogarbhamukhi (Collection of Fatty Material inside Boil)
- Daha (Burning Pain),
- Kandu (Itching),
- Vedana (Pain),
- Raktima (in Red colour).
Method of Examination
To identify the disease whose manifestation isn’t clear, Upshyay can be used. Upshyay means various examination methods to reach a proper diagnosis.
Stages of Formation of Disease
Above Sloka explains that Shalmali Thorn (a plant) like eruption on face caused by Vitiliated Kapha (Life Force), Vata (Life Force) and Rakta (Blood) are known as Mukhdushika harm to the beauty of the face. This causes disruption of the face and often occurs at young age, hence called as Youvanpidika. Mukhdushika is explained under Kshudrarog in Ayurveda.
Diet Management of Acne
- Take light food
- Have lot of fruits and salads
- Drink plenty of water
- Wash face frequently with warm water
- Adequate sleep
- Regular steaming of face till complete sweating
- Daily exercise
- Eat astringent and bitter taste herbs to detoxify the body
Apathya (Don’t s)
- Avoid non-vegetarian food especially egg
- Avoid fried & oily food
- Decrease use of black gram &pappad
- Avoid mayonnaise
- Avoid journey to places with excess dust
- Reduce stress
- Avoid touching on pimples
- Avoid unnecessary make ups and greasy skin products
- Avoid pollution and direct exposure to sunlight
Yoga and Pranayama for Acne
Following asanas (postures) will be beneficial in reducing causes and effects of acne:
Pranayama is very beneficial to relieve stress, which is a leading reason for acne. It also helps to open up body channels and thus makes the skin to breathe properly.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Acne
Ayurveda has an effective treatment for acne focusing on removing the impurities from the root itself. It includes internal and external medicines as well as purification therapies.
Internal Medicines for Acne
- Aragwadadi Kashaya
- Padoladi Kashaya
- Guggulu Thiktaka Kashaya
- Nimbadi Kashya
- Avipatty Choorna
- Brihat Thriphala Choorna
- Kaisora Guggulu Gulika
- Thriphala Guggulu Gulika
- Gandhaka Bhasma
- Sankha Bhasma
- Triphala Churna
- Kumkumadi Lepa
- Lodradi Choorna
- Rakta Chandana Choorna
- Eladi Choorna
- Lepana (Application of medicated paste)
- Raktamoksa (Blood-letting)
- Nasya (Nasal administration of medicated liquids)
- Vamana (Emesis)
- Virechana (Purgation)
Single Herbs Used in the Management of Acne
- Rakta Chandana (Pterocarpus santalinus)
- Nimba (Azadirchta indica)
- Lodra (Symplocos racemosa)
- Vacha (Acorus calamus)
- Kumari (Aloe vera)
- Gupta A, Upadhyaya Y. Ashtanga Hrudaya, Vagbhata. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Prakashan; 2012. P. 561.
- Sharma PV. Chakradatta Tika. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Prakashan; 2012. P 557-558.
- 9th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia; 2007. Sushruta Samhita, Nidana Sthana 13/39, Edited by Vaidya Yadavji Trikamji Acharaya.
- Pt. Kashinath Shastri, Dr. Gorakhnath Chaturvedi, Charak Samhita Sutrasthana, 24/16, Chaukhambha Bharti Academy, Varanasi, 2008. P. 445.
- Sahil Gupta, Child Health and Ayurveda, Edition 2021, Acne Chapter No. 11, Page No. 49-52.
Article Written By: Dr. Sahil Gupta (B.A.M.S., M.H.A.)